Ben Askren interested in Jake Paul bout in any arena: ‘Muay Thai, kickboxing, boxing, Lethwei, you name the style, I’ll win’

ake Paul may have found himself the name fighter he was looking for for his next boxing bout.

This past weekend, the YouTube sensation knocked out former NBA slam dunk champion Nate Robinson in the co-main event of the Mike Tyson – Roy Jones Jr. boxing card. Following the win, Paul outlined his intention to continue boxing but was shifting his focus from other random celebrities to other combat sports athletes like Conor McGregor and Dillon Danis. Among those names Paul mentioned as a possible opponent was former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren, who just so happened to have seen Paul’s performance, and was not overly impressed, and thinks Paul is biting off more than he can chew by calling him out.

“It’s hard to say when you’re going against someone who’s that bad,” Askren told Submission Radio. “I watched the highlights, Nate Robinson, good god. I mean, honestly, it looked like he’d never been boxing before. For someone who’s such an elite athlete – I mean, this guy’s a very elite athlete, he was a great basketball player – he couldn’t box worth a damn. So, I guess Jake Paul has as least enough power to put Nate Robinson to sleep. I don’t really know if that tells us very much…

“Obviously I’m someone who is a high-level fighter, who has a large following, who was maybe not known for his stand-up. I think that’s probably what he’s thinking. But, I’ve worked out with some other guys, just kind of been around, and they’re not fighters, and they… every fat guy on the couch in America thinks he can fight, right? They really do. And then once they feel what it really feels like, it’s just different. There’s just this gap. Like, they don’t understand what it really feels like.”

Askren almost certainly hits the nail on the head regarding Paul’s motivations. The former Olympic wrestler has never impressed with his striking skills in MMA, which would seemingly level the playing field some for a boxing match with Paul. Askren also has a big name and is the kind of excellent self-promoter that could raise the interest level of the proposed fight, which is likely why this isn’t the first time Paul has mentioned Askren as a possible opponent.

For Askren, the only real impediment could be his physical health. Askren retired from MMA in 2019, citing a major hip issue as one of the primary reasons for his exit. After having his hip replaced earlier this year, Askren is supposed to be taking it easy, at least on the wrestling front. However, “Funky” seems to think boxing may be allowable.
I’m not supposed to do live wrestling for a year post-surgery, which is September 1,” Askren said. “Boxing, that seems kind of easy. Like, I’m sure I could do that. Like, there’s no shots, there’s no slams, there’s not leg locks. I dunno, that seems relatively safe to me.”

Not just “relatively safe” but relatively lucrative as well. Nate Robinson reportedly made $600,000 plus a percentage of the PPV buys this past weekend, which is nearly double the reported pay Askren received per fight in the UFC. Plus, for Askren, he’d get to make all that money doing something he’d enjoy.

“Most people are like, oh, I don’t know why Ben Askren would stoop to that level,” Askren said. “It’s like, listen, when I was in high school, one of the fun things to do was, a bunch of dudes would come over to the house, we’d put on some boxing gloves and we’d try to beat the shit out of each other. Like, we did that for free, we just did that for fun. And now you’re telling me you’re gonna pay me a whole bunch of money to beat up a YouTube star. Like, I don’t know, that just sounds like a fun Friday night to me…

“Muay Thai, kickboxing, boxing, Lethwei. Name the style. You name the style, I’ll win.”

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